Borussia Dortmund have signed young German defenders Niklas Sule and Nico Schlotterbeck ahead of the 2022-23 Bundesliga season.
While Sule joins Dortmund from Bayern Munich, Schlotterbeck has arrived from SC Freiburg. The defence has arguably been Dortmund’s most significant weakness over the last few seasons. A couple of forwards and a defensive midfielder are also likely to join Dortmund before the start of the new season.
Schlotterbeck and Sule are set to form Dortmund’s first-choice centre-back pairing next season.
Head coach Marco Rose made it clear the defence needs improving after Saturday’s 4-3 defeat at home to Bochum saw Dortmund reach the milestone of 50 league goals conceded this season.
The 22-year-old, who has enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2021/22, has agreed on terms on a five-year deal through to 2027 at Dortmund, where he is set to form part of a new-look backline alongside fellow centre-back Niklas Sule, who joins from Bayern Munich.
“Nico is a young Germany international who’s had great development. His profile is perfect for BVB,” said outgoing sporting director Michael Zorc.
His successor, Sebastian Kehl, added: “Nico’s journey reminds me of my own, coming as a young Germany international from Freiburg to BVB. I hope Dortmund becomes as much as a home for him as it did for me.
“Nico has huge potential. He’s chosen by no means the financially best offer from numerous interested clubs, but chose BVB to develop here.”
It’s been a decade since Borussia Dortmund last won the Bundesliga. The Black & Yellow side has often found itself playing catchup to Bayern Munich, historically the most successful club in Germany. Bayern often has been accused of stealing Dortmund’s best players to bolster their roster. However, ahead of the Bundesliga 2022-23 season, one can argue that precisely the opposite happened.
Traditionally, Bayern have been seen as the club with the best pull in terms of getting the finest German players into their side. But it’s Borussia Dortmund who are making such headlines this time.
The defence has been Dortmund’s biggest problem over the last few years. Mats Hummels, Manuel Akanji and Dan-Axel Zagadou haven’t done enough to make the club’s defence a reliable one. Even Marin Pongracic was signed on loan from VFL Wolfsburg in the summer last year, but he couldn’t do much either.
In Sule and Schlotterbeck, Dortmund arguably have the two best young German defenders in their side. The duo has also been a part of the Germany national team, playing regularly for manager Hansi Flick.